Paraponting (also called parapenting) is essentially launching yourself off the summit of a mountain and gliding back to earth in the valley below. Whereas parachutes are designed for controlled descent such as skydiving or dropping cargo, paragliders are designed for ascending with the aid of thermals. The skill of the pilot is finding these thermals.
Without thermals or upwards airflow (hence launching from a mountain slope), the paraglider will glide towards earth. The rate of descent or glide ratio is inherent in the design of the glider wing be can be raised in a number of ways.
Typically, beginners or learners are strapped to the front of instructors but positions can be switched.