Thinking about learning in education inescapably draws us to consider teaching, the two, or so we assume, being so closely intertwined. And yet, the crucial role of the teacher-student relationship notwithstanding, two further aspects associated with learning - frequently under-examined by both student and teacher - are need of more detailed analysis. the first of these is the critical issue of self-learning, i.e. the possibility, indeed the necessity, of learning in the absence of formal teaching practices, such that self-learning becomes an intellectual extension of extant educational delivery. the second, of perhaps more significance, deals with the issues of existing knowledge and extant beliefs, and thus with preferences, prejudices and assumptions that lie within the minds of the students and which, consciously or sub-consciously, affect, potentially enhance, and determine, control and direct both their learning experiences and their acceptance and interpretation of information. Given the intense and inescapable interconnection between learning, self-learning, and pre-existing beliefs, the paper explores three key issues relating to learner and teacher, viz., the concept of position, the notion of ideology, and the role and effect of expectations in the receipt, development, and transmission of knowledge. Drawing on a range of recent discussions within the education literature the paper seeks to explicate the centrality of expectations, beliefs and assumptions in how students understand, critically interact with, and accept or reject information, ideas and views presented to them.