If you use the word discourse, you are describing a formal and intense discussion or debate.

The noun discourse comes from the Latin discursus to mean "an argument." But luckily, that kind of argument does not mean people fighting or coming to blows. The argument in discourse refers to an exchange of ideas — sometimes heated — that often follows a kind of order and give-and-take between the participants. It's the kind of argument and discussion that teachers love, so discourse away!

Definitions of discourse

n an extended communication (often interactive) dealing with some particular topic

discussion, treatment
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extended treatment of particulars
a lengthy discussion (spoken or written) on a particular topic
a discussion of a topic (as in a meeting)
discussion; (`talk about' is a less formal alternative for `discussion of')
elaboration, enlargement, expansion
a discussion that provides additional information
a discussion (spoken or written) that enlarges on a topic or theme at length or in detail
a consideration of a topic (as in a meeting) with a view to changing an earlier decision
embellishment, embroidery
elaboration of an interpretation by the use of decorative (sometimes fictitious) detail
Type of:
communicating, communication
the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information

n extended verbal expression in speech or writing

context, context of use, linguistic context
discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation
Type of:
language unit, linguistic unit
one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed

n an address of a religious nature (usually delivered during a church service)

preaching, sermon
Sermon on the Mount
the first major discourse delivered by Jesus (Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6:20-49)
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a farewell sermon to a graduating class at their commencement ceremonies
kerugma, kerygma
preaching the gospel of Christ in the manner of the early church
zealous preaching and advocacy of the gospel
homily, preachment
a sermon on a moral or religious topic
evangelism at a distance by the use of television
Type of:
address, speech
the act of delivering a formal spoken communication to an audience

v consider or examine in speech or writing

discuss, talk about
talk at great length about something of one's interest
talk shop
discuss matters that are related to work
Type of:
address, cover, deal, handle, plow, treat
act on verbally or in some form of artistic expression

v talk at length and formally about a topic

dissertate, hold forth
Type of:
speak, talk
exchange thoughts; talk with

v carry on a conversation

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argue, contend, debate, fence
have an argument about something
interview, question
conduct an interview in television, newspaper, and radio reporting
discuss formally with (somebody) for the purpose of an evaluation
go for an interview in the hope of being hired
chaffer, chat, chatter, chew the fat, chit-chat, chitchat, claver, confab, confabulate, gossip, jaw, natter, shoot the breeze, visit
talk socially without exchanging too much information
dispute or argue stubbornly (especially minor points)
fight verbally
bicker, brabble, niggle, pettifog, quibble, squabble
argue over petty things
altercate, argufy, dispute, quarrel, scrap
have a disagreement over something
be against; express opposition to
jawbone, schmoose, schmooze, shmoose, shmooze
talk idly or casually and in a friendly way
Type of:
speak, talk
exchange thoughts; talk with

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