This chapter describes the nature of instructional activity, both in and outside the classroom. It discusses specific ways in which cultural influences may be considered in creating effective patterns of activity. The chapter focuses on cultural variations surrounding the roles of teacher and student and on variations in gender roles. It highlights Native American students' experience in school as an example of cultural influences on power relationships in the classroom. An examination of the literature on teacher and student roles leads us to believe that some of the cultural differences in classrooms may be explained by differential experiences with formal education Cultures differ with regard to who has power or control in different situations and how this power is acquired and maintained. Cultural differences also exist regarding the acceptance of power differentials. In considering power relationships in the planning of classroom instructional activities, teachers must once again decide when to work with and when against existing cultural tendencies.