Kirsten, great topic and well stated. I like Frank Smith’s approach (Krashen turned me on to Smith and I have read most of his books now), which is probably related to your holistic approach. He points out that the tendency has been to analyze what is to be learned so it can be broken down into steps and mastered step by step and then reassembled. He says that’s not how people learned it in the first place.
I initially applied that to language learning/acquisition and found it fit quite well. Would it apply to learning how to do TCI/tprs? I know not but would love to read the ensuing discussion.