Intercultural Maturity Model (King & Baxter Magolda, 2005)

Table identifying the 3 levels of developmentThis model was based on an analysis of many studies on intercultural communication and the authors used student reflections to illustrate the 3 stages of development for each of the three categories.  The authors encourage researchers to extend and test this model, “using strategies that enable the assessment of intercultural maturity both within and across developmental domains, and to explore whether the use of an integrated model yields more effective educational interventions.”

For the purpose of studying sojourning ELTs, this model shows promise because it is based on the concept of “self-authorship” (Kegan, 1994; Baxter Magolda, 2000, 2001), examples of which have been found in abundance through social media and other online publishing platforms. However, the biggest challenge is that the target populations shifts from students to teachers.  For students, teachers and advisors can help guide them towards a more mature level of development.  For teachers, I propose they need a community of supportive ELTs in which they help each other reach this mature level. I am not sure if most administrators or supervisors have the time, background, or training to assist sojourning ELTs on their journey to a more mature level of intercultural development. Perhaps administrators need this as well, especially those in charge of programs that hire and serve people from many different backgrounds.


Baxter-Magolda, M.B. (2000). Interpersonal maturity: integrating agency and communion. Journal of College Student Development, 41(2), 141-156.

Baxter-Magolda, M.B. (2001). Making their own way: narratives for transforming higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Kegan, R. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

King, P.M. & Baxter Magolda, M.B. (2005). A development model of intercultural maturity. Journal of College Student Development, 46(6), 571-592.