Our Collective Focus

It’s the last day of January, 2021 – a year we hope will bring an end to lockdowns, self-isolation, days on Zoom, border closures and masks. Our past 12 months have been like no other. Yet, we go on. Tired, facing complexities and shifts in “normal”.

We keep teaching. We keep learning.

Learning. Professional learning is essential to our work. There is no end of things to learn. It helps to have a focus.

Throughout January, we have asked educators to accept a challenge: To choose a word to use as a focus this year.


There are many reasons why one would take on this challenge, but for most, it comes down to focus and intentionality.

Having one word through which to “see” your practice, to guide your work, and to reflect on your professional learning gives you a chance to be really intentional about your professional growth.

Having one word to concentrate on allows you the time to delve into the nuances of the word, to look at it from various angles, to hold it close and then to view it from a distance.

Having one word gives you the chance to be shaped by it.

Julie Balen, 2021

Documenting the words each year helps us to see trends over time.

This year, our word cloud clearly speaks to our need for connection and relationships during this very challenging time.

#OneWordEdCan Word Cloud 2021

As we go through the year, we will challenge participants to reflect and share how they are using their focus to guide and support their professional learning.

We invite others to join in at any time.


For more history on the #oneword education projects, including why we do this work, see Julie Balen’s work here.


Read a few of the #oneword posts from previous years

Sue Dunlop

Aviva Dunsiger

Donna Fry

Diana Maliszewski

Heather Theijsmeijer

Tina Zita

Julie Balen

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