1)-Is an Aikido class a practice scenario geared towards learning and understanding techniques in a controlled atmosphere, led by an instructor who has some degree of insight into what is going on? Or is it a free for all where someone attacks you with full resistance putting you in a position to execute "whatever works", hoping that it might be the technique that the guy in front of the class had just demonstrated? If the latter is true, then why are we even in class, that can be done on the street with a book on Aikido techique.
This is a false dichotomy. Otherwise, one might chide you for practicing "whatever doesn't work"
From the beginnning I was taught that training was just that... practice. Harmonious practice at that, except in cases where specifically instructed to resist to provide a bit of realism, or in the case of Randori.
There is nothing particularly realistic about resistance. If you are providing something to be resisted, you have something to work on.
2)-In the same way the uke benefits from partner practice by having to do proper ukemi, shouldn't he/she also benefit by learning how to attack properly, and in a controlled manner?
Which is more proper, an apple or an orange? Whose technique needs your full attention, yours or your partners'? There is (probably) an ancient Japanese saying which applies here, and can be translated to "don't look a gift horse in the mouth."
The people in my dojo attack as well as most that do striking arts alone (some are even sensei of striking arts). For those who have no MA experience besides Aikido, this ability has been the result of partner practice geared towards mutual benefit for both Tori and Uke. When someone attacks wrong YOU TELL THEM or show them how to do it properly.
To say that "your specific attack precludes repetition of the demonstrated response" seems reasonable. "You attacked wrong" is a joke. Maybe I am splitting hairs.
But, with either of these responses, you refuse to accept what you were offered. I know that many Aikido people like to lecture on the evils of the ego; how does this fit in?
Instructors are human, they also make mistakes, but sometimes the only way to do things correctly is by understanding the myriad ways of doing them incorrectly.
So either way the instructor guides you towards what is right, even if his execution may be wrong.
Right! What then is the difference between the student and the teacher? The direction of the tuition payment.
I believe when one has a problem with a teacher, inform that teacher of your problem, or leave and form your own class if you know better.
I don't have any problem with people who make mistakes. I do have a small problem with people who claim to be perfect but are unwilling and/or unable to demonstrate. And I have a big problem with their simple-minded advocates, who should know better than to repeat such things.