Reflective Practice on Social Loafing in College-Level Group Projects

Dalia Sherif, University of Houston-Downtown


While reflecting on my teaching strategies and researching social loafing for my dissertation, I realized this endeavor has given me a stronger grasp of the pedagogical approaches to facilitate cooperative learning. Observing, sharing, and reflecting on specific social loafing experiences using Gibbs’ reflective framework allowed me, with time, to better conceptualize the dynamics of university-level group projects. Leveraging my experience and insightful research analysis on group dysfunctionalities inside and outside the classroom has gradually reshaped my understanding of the social loafing phenomenon. Nurturing my professional development through this reflective practice allowed me to create an ongoing coaching relationship with students (and later with faculty), and to generate a list of best practices for cooperative learning that can result in higher group achievements and improved learning outcomes. 

Key words: Teaching, learning, Graham Gibbs’ reflective framework, reflective practice, social loafing, team-based learning, cooperative learning, groups, teams, John Dewey reflective theory, group projects, Stephen Brookfield lenses.

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