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Caught in the Learning Loop

by Neil Finney

Caught in the Learning Loop

I am addicted to learning.

Ever since I can remember I have loved to learn. Growing up I excelled at reading, grew to love writing (here I am) and found myself constantly setting new goals of things that “one day” I wanted to learn (or learn to do). These days I find my thirst for knowledge growing at an insatiable rate, as I try to make sense of the job that I do – being a teacher – and the way that I impact students in my classroom.

Whether talking to colleagues, following conversations on Twitter or trying new things in the classroom on a trial-and-error basis – I am always learning in a self-directed way. There is so much out there that we can find and learn from other educators on almost every topic – through social networking vehicles such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Edmodo. My personal learning network has been growing steadily ever since I first put my thoughts to virtual page on my own blog: “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.”

But, the time invested in these conversations is also how your return is created in the way of “virtual” knowledge. We share with those who share with us. We seek out opportunities for conversations with those who reciprocate and support us in a thoughtful manner. The web is filled with self-directed, online educational geniuses. These people are building the 22nd century global school for our future generations. I have been merely trying to include some aspects of it into my own current teaching.

I think that learning is like traveling and once you have the bug, it’s something you just can’t shake.

I find myself thinking big thoughts. I find myself asking big questions. I find myself constantly connecting my experiences to my goals and evaluating progress. I think that this must be the base purpose of education. We create the conditions that result in learning becoming a basic need like food, water and shelter. When it seeps in to your daily thoughts – and has no business being there – you, too, may be addicted to learning.


So how can we model this for our students? Are you “addicted to learning?” If you are, how can that be a unique sharing opportunity in your classroom to help construct others as lifelong, self-directed learners?



During Neilʼs 10 years of teaching experience, he has taught in London, England; Ontario; public and private schools; elementary and secondary; junior; intermediate; core french; developmental skills; and junior gifted (grades 4,5,6). He is a Reading Specialist that has been incorporating technology in his practice consistently throughout his career. Neil has recently published his first book entitled “Ignite. Incite. Inspire.” – Examining 21st Century Issues in Education, which is a collection of teaching articles and posts written from January to December 2011.


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