"acclimation of perception through intelligent trial and error" I like that. "a good learning tool is something like a Zen pinhole camera" I like this idea as well no viewfinder is a liberating experience and one really has to learn to visualize in ones mind. I think it's interesting to note that some of the better photographers came from some other artform. HCB and Man Ray for instance started out as painter so were visually schooled before they started out as photographers. They learned to see before they turned their talent to photography.
I was taught history of art by Fox Talbot's grandson, Major Talbot (showing my age here). He once mentioned that when he was studying sculpture, his art teacher told him to spend a year drawing and then when he came back to sculpture he found the year studying a different medium beneficial.