Building blocks and application

I'd like to return to my first thoughts on Holland's model and why I'm interested in them. As a writing instructor I want to help my students improve their writing and be able to transfer what they learn in my class into other classes and eventually into their careers and elsewhere. Holland's mechanism of building blocks lend hope that we can achieve these purposes. That is, if we can determine (the) common building blocks of writing across a variety of contexts and genres, whether within school or without, and help our students master those blocks, so they can adapt them to fit in various combinations across new and diverse situations, then we have accomplished our goals.

Right now, I'm leaning toward stasis theory: What are the facts? What is the nature of the event? What is its value? and What should we do about it? And, I would add, how did it come to pass?

In a way, these questions are similar to those in Deborah Meier's Habits of Mind: How do we know what we know? Who's speaking? What causes what? How might things have been different? and Who cares? (or So what?)

The similarity between these sets of questions leads me to think that human thinking runs along a few fundamental paths (this is not new), and teaching writing along fundamental lines, i.e. building block, can facilitate our students learning these blocks and transferring them to new contexts, whether to other classes or to future careers. Thus, teaching composition will need to include both the content of building blocks and practice in adapting those building blocks to novel situations.