20. Learning by Being: The Nurturing and Social Reform Models of Teaching:

20.4. The Roles of Learners and Teachers

Of all the perspectives on teaching these two are the most learner-centered. They are based on a profoundly optimistic view of human nature, that people will seek out and learn what they need and will find the necessary support from caring, dedicated educators and/or from others with similar interests and concerns, and that individuals have the capacity and ability to identify and follow through with their own educational needs. It is also a more a radical view of education because it seeks to escape the political and controlling aspects of state or private institutions.

Within each of these two perspectives, there are differences of view about the centrality of teachers for successful learning. For Pratt, the teacher plays a central role in nurturing learning; for others such as Illich or Freire, professionally trained teachers are more likely to be the servant of the state than of the individual learner. For those supporting these perspectives on teaching, volunteer mentors or social groups organized around certain ideals or social goals provide the necessary support for learners.