Writing Without Teachers. Elbow contends there is "a place where there is learning but no teaching. It is possible to learn something and not be taught. It is possible to be a student and not have a teacher." (ix). Teachers are "more useful when it is clearer that they are not necessary." (x). The role of the teacher is to be useful, it is not the teachers role to provide instructions and directions but to help the student do in a more lucid and powerful way what she is already fully capable of doing.