Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bee keeping as a way of teaching children how to be calm and patient

When I grow up I want to be… a teacher.

Teachers have incredible impact on their students’ lives. They can inspire them to pursue a path they would not have considered before. In most classes there are few naughty students, often teachers do not know how to engage these students and these students end up disrupting the entire lesson (Cooper, 1982).  As a little girl I was one of these naughty, restless children. Most of the time I just wanted attention or to show off in front of my friends.

As a teacher I want to decrease naughty and restless behaviour by introducing bee keeping lessons.  Students that are being loud, naughty and impatient around bees would get stabbed by the bee. The next time, they would have to be calm and patient otherwise they would get stabbed again. Being calm and careful is the consequence of not wanting to get stabbed – this is the example of the Law effect (Thorndike, 1927).  

Stabbing weakens naughty behaviour because in order not to be stabbed students have to be cautious, patient, and careful  (being stab punishes careless behaviour). This kind of punisher is call response cost (Weiner, 1962). If a student is not careful and naughty, he or she will have to pay a price, the price of getting stabbed. The bee stab could also be considered a physical punishment even though the teacher is not personally doing the punishing. The bee stab is effective punisher as it is immediate and certain.  Bee keeping teaches children many different valuable skills that are transferable to other areas of life (such as patience, long-term commitment to a project or attention to detail).

Additionally, both teachers and children wear the same bee suit. Suddenly, they all look the same, they all are equal. The naughty students may have difficulties with respecting authority; therefore by wearing the same suits we remove the reinforce that increases rebellious behaviour against authority (using extinction).

So what is the next step?

We must lobby the government to introduce bee-keeping lessons into primary school syllabus.

A blog by Bebe

(Alzbeta Husakova)


  • Cooper, J. O. (1982). Applied behavior analysis in education. Theory into practice, 21(2), 114-118.

  • Thorndike, E. L. (1927). The law of effect. The American Journal of Psychology.

  • Weiner, H. (1962). Some effects of response cost upon human operant behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 5(2), 201-208.

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