Impromptu debate

Impromptu debate is a type of formalized academic debate. Representative of comedic debate, Impromptu debating is practiced at high schools, generally in tandem with other, more serious forms of debate. In some areas, such as portions of Canada, impromptu debate is treated as formally as Parliamentary debate.


Impromptu is an individual event that consists of just one competitor giving a speech against other competitors that give their speech at a separate time. Impromptu differs from other forms of debate because of it. Emphasis is usually given on humour as well as on logic and performance. The resolutions debated often encourage humorous debates.


Each team comprises two members, each of whom is named according to their team and speaking position within his or her team. The Impromptu format varies, depending on what "traditional" debate format on what it is based. An impromptu debate in Policy debate style, for example, might follow the Policy speech format, but with radically altered content or speech durations.

JSA Impromptu debate format usually consists of choosing two volunteers out of the students attending the block and then having the audience assign a topic to them.


There are several methods of judging an Impromptu debate. The most standard method is when a single judge observes the debate and simply votes one way or another; however, it is sometimes acceptable to have the audience (if it is sufficiently large) cast votes, with the winner determined by majority.

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