Impromptu Debating – rules and guidelines

The following rules and guidelines for impromptu debating in the Senior Certificate, Junior Premier and Junior Certificate grades may be helpful.

1. Speaking Times

Speaking times for impromptu debates in the Senior Certificate, Junior Premier and Junior Certificate grades are 3-4 minutes for main speeches, with 1-2 minute replies.

2. How to choose the topic and side

A coin is flipped and one team calls. Whichever team wins the coin toss has the option of selecting the topic for the debate, or the side that they will be take. They have one minute to decide and then indicate what they have chosen, with the other team (the coin toss losers) automatically taking the other option.

The team that has been allocated the job of choosing the topic then has one minute to choose between two topics, written on a piece of paper that the adjudicator/host school will provide. After one minute, the topic to be debated is announced.

The team that has been allocated the job of choosing their side then has a minute to select either the affirmative or negative side. After one minute that is announced, with the other team obviously taking the other side.

Teams then have ten minutes to prepare, after which the debate starts.

3. Permissible material

Teams may use any non-electronic material in the ten minutes preparation time, e.g recent newspapers, magazines, yearbooks etc. They are not to use any electronic materia or equipment, e.g computer, internet capable cellphone, etc.

4. Motions to expect

Motions for the impromptu rounds do not differ markedly from those debated in the prepared rounds of the competition, although they are usually more broad in nature than a prepared debate.

For further inquiries please email the President.

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