if an individual can learn to understand the possibilities outside of the realm of singular understanding, and by exposure to different things, determine new understanding, then Plato would assert that all men have the potential to move from ignorance to knowledge. The basis for the “Allegory of the Cave” is this: a prisoner is held in a cave for his whole life (since birth), only able to see and experience that which is placed before him. For example, the fire that is used to luminate the cave becomes the center of the world much like our own sun is such a compelling central component, and the prisoner experiences everything that he sees and understands relative to the fire.
In conjunction, the fire become a means of visualizing other elements, including exposure to a puppet and the shadows on the wall, and all of these factors make up the specifics of what is known in the world of the prisoner.. Knowledge, then, is not simply sensory based (because the prisoners in the cave, for example, believed they had the knowledge of the fire, the shadows and the cave itself as if these were the only elements in the world that needed to be known), but also extends past our senses into the realm of logical reasoning, constructive reasoning, and a process orientation to learning and developing wisdom. Rather than simply producing information and addressing the learning process and the students in order to bring them into complicity, it is Plato’s contention that the learning process, the same process that occurs when the prisoner in the cave is allowed to leave and experiences the sun, the moon, trees, and all of life’s sciences and concepts, should be student directed.
The teacher is simply a means by which the student can come into connection with the ways of attaining knowledge, but the process of learning itself must be singular and directed by a personal learning focus. The teacher provides the individual with the means to perceive themselves, to evaluate their nature, and to consider the search for truth as a major aspect of the educational process. Plato believes that the metaphor of the cave, asserting man’s ignorance prior to learning, results in the need for a teacher who can provide exposure to different subjects, different perspectives and a range of educational subject areas