Grinds

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For other uses, see Grind (disambiguation).

In Ireland, grinds are private tuition; a major industry in Ireland, particularly at secondary school level.

"Grinds" is a Hiberno-English term which is used variously to refer to both the lesson ("I'd a maths grind last night") and the teacher ("My maths grind came over last night"), although the latter usage is less common. It is generally used in the plural ("I do maths grinds").[citation needed]

Origins[edit]

A large waterwheel powered grindstone. The user would lie on the plank above the grindstone while grinding metal items, giving rise to the phrase nose to the grindstone.

Ireland was traditionally an agricultural and farming community so perhaps this is where the word ‘grind’ started. Grinding stones were used to produce flour by hand in ancient agriculture and evolved along with the development of different kinds of mills. From hand quern mills to grist mills powered by water, wind or steam, grinding stones remained an essential tool until the end of the 19th century, when roller mills using metal rolls to grind grain were developed. The term ‘keep your nose to the grindstone’ was commonly used to mean ‘apply yourself conscientiously to your work’.‘To grind’ in education generally means to ‘instill or teach by persistent repetition’. Charles Dickens referred to Mr Gradgrind in his novel Hard Times.

Prevalence[edit]

Grinds in Ireland, are a major component of educational life. Many Irish students will have "grinds" before sitting either one or both of the two major state exams, the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate. Grinds are a multi million euro industry in Ireland and according to the Irish Times, some 40 per cent of all full-time Leaving Cert students are paying fees averaging more than €5,000 per annum[1] in addition to their normal schooling in 2007. This is considerably down in the last two years due to the economic crisis.

In recent years, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners has been investigating a perceived failure of some teachers to declare extra income from giving grinds for tax purposes. The teachers' union ASTI have denied that this is a widespread problem.[2]

The terms grinds had also became popular at College/University level. The cost of grinds varies per subject area. There is a grinds barometer available on a popular website advertising Grinds www.grinds.ie [1]

Some schools such as Ashfield College,[3] Bruce College, Institute of Education, and Yeats College[4] who offer the Leaving Certificate as a single year (Repeat) course are called condescendingly Grind Schools.

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