Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to Create Effective Slide Shows in PowerPoint 2007

Tefl Spin tutorialsWhenever I sit through a PowerPoint presentation, I am inevitably left with two conclusions.

One, very few people possess the skills to stand up in front of others and make a good, entertaining presentation. And two, most people are utterly clueless when it comes to designing an effective PowerPoint slide show.

In fact, even those who possess some presentation skills almost always cancel those skills out with a horrid PowerPoint slide show.

A simple fact to keep in mind when creating a PowerPoint slide show is this: no matter how interesting you think your topic is, other people will not share your enthusiasm. In other words: regardless of your presentation skills, no one in the audience is going to be blown away by your content.

Let’s hammer that point home one last time: if you start from the premise that no one gives a damn what you have to say, and realize that every last member of your audience is going to zone out during your presentation, you just might be able to leave your audience members with a positive impression.

With this idea in mind, I am going to provide you with some tips on how to create a good PowerPoint slide show.

Specifically, the following is both a tutorial on creating a PowerPoint slide show—step-by-step instructions that show you which buttons to click— and advice on how to effectively format the content.

The topics include:

Creating a Template for your Slide Show
—To select a theme in PowerPoint
—To set the font style, size and bullet type
Adding Front Matter to your Slide Show
—To add a title page, table of contents, and objective slide
Creating Slides for New Sections
—To create slides for a new sections
—To create slides for subsequent new sections
—To add content to your slide show
Adding a Final Q and A Slide
—To add a final Q and A slide
Adding a Running Footer
—To add a running footer to your presentation
—To format the running footer
—To add the text box to other slides
A Few Words about Adding Images
Editing your Slide Show
—To do a spell check
—To eliminate orphans

To perform the instructions that appear in this tutorial, you need the following:

—A computer with Windows operating system and Microsoft PowerPoint 2007.

—A basic understanding of PowerPoint. This tutorial is not aimed at absolute beginners but the instructions give as much detail as possible. Users who have created numerous slide shows will find most of the instructions unnecessary, but they still may find useful suggestions throughout. And the instructions could be helpful for those who have created PowerPoint slide shows before but still feel there are some gaps in their knowledge.

Creating a Template for your Slide Show

Before starting this tutorial, I urge you to first prepare the content that you want to add to the slide show. On the other hand, you may be the type of person who likes to have the structure of the slide show sorted out before you start to write your material. Having the look and feel of the slide show established can serve as a motivation for some people to create the content.

When you are finished this section of the tutorial, you will have the basic skeleton of your slide show in place. You will have a consistent design for your slide show, including font style and size, and bullet point arrangement.

To select a theme in PowerPoint:

1. Open PowerPoint 2007.

2. Click the Design tab.

PowerPoint 2007 Design tab

3. In the Design ribbon, select the Concourse theme.

PowerPoint 2007 Concourse theme

Note: for the purposes of this tutorial, I am using the Concourse theme. For ease of following this tutorial, I recommend you use this theme as well.

Note: This tutorial does not include instructions on how to tweak pre-existing themes, though PowerPoint 2007 provides numerous options for doing this.

4. Click the Microsoft Office Button.

PowerPoint 2007 Microsoft Office Button

5. Click Save As and then click PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation.

Click Save as

Note: if you are certain that the computer you will use for the presentation has PowerPoint 2007, then you can save the presentation as PowerPoint Presentation.

To set the font style, size and bullet type:

1. Click the View tab, and in the View ribbon, in the Presentation Views group, click Slide Master.

PowerPoint 2007 View tab

PowerPoint 2007 Slide master button

2. In the thumbnail pane, click the topmost slide so that it is highlighted.

PowerPoint 2007 thumbnails pane

3. In the slide pane (the part of the screen that takes up most space and where you add content to, and edit slides) highlight the text that says “Click to Edit Master title Style.”

Slide master title master

4. Click the Home tab, and in the Font group, select Arial font, size 40, and unclick the Bold button.

Arial font

5. Highlight the text in the first bulleted point, and change the font size to Times New Roman, size 30.

6. In the Paragraph group, click on the bullet point drop down arrow and select the square shadowed bullet.

Change bullets PowerPoint 2007

7. Change the second level text to Times New Roman, size 28, and bullet type en-dash (click the bullet drop down menu, click Bullets and Numbering, click Customize, click en-dash, click OK, click OK again).

Bullets and numbering button PowerPoint 2007

Bullets dialog box PowerPoint 2007

En dash bullet type PowerPoint 2007

8. Save your work.

Adding Front Matter to your Slide Show

Most people with experience presenting in front of others are familiar with the "Tell 'em rule."

—Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em.
—Tell 'em.
—Tell 'em what you told 'em.

A simple organization method that increases the likelihood that your audience will retain at least some of what you talked about. Adding a title page, table of contents and an objective slide is a great way to start your slide show and adhere to this method of organization.

To add a title page, table of contents, and objective slide:

1. Click the Slide Master tab.

slide master tab PowerPoint 2007

: the Slide Master tab only appears in the tab bar after you open Slide Master.

2. At the far right hand side of the ribbon, click Close Master View.

Close master view PowerPoint 2007

3. In the slide pane, click in the title slide and add the title of your slide show.

Note: the work we did in SlideMaster in the previous set of instructions was for the slides that appear in the body of the slide show. As the title page is only one slide, I don’t see much point in creating a master slide for it. Format the font style and size directly in the title page slide.

4. In the thumbnail pane, click the second slide from the top, and then in the slide pane, click in the title area and type “Table of Contents."

Thumbnail pane PowerPoint 2007

Note: you should see that the formatting that you added in SlideMaster appears in the current slide.

5. Add your section titles as bullet points.

Note: any more than five or six sections in your presentation and things are getting too complicated. Cut or merge some sections.

6. Click on the second slide in the thumbnail pane, and then press the Enter key on your keyboard.

Result: a new slide appears (the third slide).

7. In the slide pane, type “Presentation Objective” as the title of the third slide.

8. Add one to three objectives that you hope to accomplish with your slide show.

Note: I find that adding an objective slide is a good way of further previewing your slide show and piquing the interest of your audience. I always try to indicate the flavor and tone of the slide show with the objectives. If you are trying to persuade your audience of something, you can hint at it in the objectives or state it outright.

A final word on the section titles that you use in the table of contents: try to keep them as succinct as possible. Here is what I started out with:

—A Brief History of Fighting in the NHL
—NHL Stance Towards Fighting
—Fights in Today’s NHL are More Dangerous
—The Appeal of Fighting in the NHL
—NHL Fight that Results in Death: It’s Coming…

Way, way too long! Any section title can be cut down so that it is more succinct and memorable without losing the key meaning. You want your audience to take something away from your presentation. Long section titles are more difficult to remember. Slice them down to size! After some trimming, here is what I kept:

New section in PowerPoint presentation

Creating Slides for New Sections

Now that you know what your topic sections are, you can create a slide that introduces each one. We are going to add a line under the title of section slides so that they are different from the rest of the body slides. This tells your audience, “New Section: perk up, take note, some new information,” regardless of what you are also telling them with your voice.

To create slides for new sections:

1. Click the third slide in the thumbnail pane(or whichever was the last slide before the body of the presentation is to begin).

2. Press Enter on your keyboard to add a new slide.

3. In the title area of the slide, add the first title section.

Note: check the Table of Contents slide to ensure you are replicating the exact wording of the section title. Consistency in wording always results in a more effective slide show.

4. Click the Insert tab.

Insert tab PowerPoint 2007

5. In the Illustrations group, click the Shapes button,

Shapes button PowerPoint 2007

6. Under the Lines section, click Line.

Lines section in Shapes PowerPoint

7. Position the crosshair cursor under your section title on the slide, simultaneously left click your mouse, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and drag the cursor to the right.

crosshair cursor PowePoint 2007

Note: you hold down the Shift key to ensure that the line remains straight.

light bulb ideaTip: if you wish to thicken the line, hover your cursor over the line so that the crosshair-with-points appears, and click. Next, click on the Home tab, and then in the Drawing group, click on the Shape Outline button, click Weight, and select the thickness of line that you want.

thicken line PowerPoint 2007

light bulb ideaTip: if you don’t like the positioning of the line, hover your cursor over the line and click. Then, use the right, left, and up, down arrow keys on your keyboard to re-position the line.

8. Save your work.

To create slides for subsequent new sections:

1. In the slide you created in the previous set of instructions, hover your cursor over the line you added, and click so that the line is selected.

copy line PowerPoint

2. On your keyboard, press and hold down the Ctrl key and then press the letter C button.

Note: this is a shortcut that copies the line.

3. In the thumbnails pane, click on the slide on which you are currently working, and press Enter on your keyboard.

4. In the new slide that appears in the slide pane, type in the second section title.

5. Press and hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then press the letter V key.

Note: this is a shortcut for Paste.

Result: the line that you created in the previous slide should now appear under your second section title.

6. Create new slide for each new section slide and copy the line into those slides in the same way as indicated in the above steps.

Result: you have a new section slide for all the sections that appear in your Table of Contents.

Note: just as you created Master slide for the body slides of your slide show, you could also create a Master slide for the new section slides.

Now that you have all your new section slides in place, you are ready to start adding content slides to each section.

To add content to your slide show:

1. In the thumbnail pane click on the first slide of the first section.

2. In the slide pane, click to the right of the first bullet point and add your content.

Note: should you preview each section in detail? In other words, should you include a mini table of contents for each new section? Personally, I believe that this becomes redundant. If the section is quite long, you may want the content in the new section slide to preview what is to come in that section. But in general, I would just dive in to the content that you want to present. The section title should be enough of a preview in most cases.

light bulb ideaTip: I highly recommend that you put no more than five bullet points per slide. Three or four is even better! Similarly, each bullet point should be as short and concise as possible. Finally, wherever possible, keep the bullet points parallel. In other words, if the first bullet point starts with a verb, make all of them start with a verb. Don’t take this “rule” to absurd lengths. If keeping all bullet points parallel would detract from your intended meaning, then don’t do it!

3. Add the remaining content in the subsequent bullet points.

4. Add as many new slides as you need for the section.

6. Add content to remaining sections.

Note: to reiterate what I mentioned before, only the first slide in each new section should have the line under the title.

Adding a Final Q and A Slide

After you have added all the content to your slide show, you can add a final slide that can remain on the screen while you are taking any questions at the end of your presentation.

Before you add the final Q and A slide, you may be wondering about a summary slide. In keeping with the "tell 'em rule," you well may want to add a slide to summarize what you have presented in your slide show. Keep this slide very brief and re-state the main points that you made throughout the slide show. On the other hand, you may want to orally summarize with the Q and A slide on the screen.

To add a final Q and A slide:

1. Add a new slide to the slide show.

Note: this should be the last slide in the presentation.

2. In the Home tab, in the Slides group, click the Layout button.

layout button PowerPoint 2007

3. In the drop-down that appears, select the Blank slide.

blank slide in layout PowerPoint 2007

4. Click the Insert tab, and in the Text group, click the Text Box button.

Insert tab PowerPoint 2007

text box button PowerPoint 2007

5. Position the inverted cross cursor on the slide you just created, click and hold down the left
mouse button, and in the middle of the slide, drag a text box the length of the slide.

inverted cross cursor PowerPoint 2007

6. Click inside the text box you created.

7. In the Home tab, in the Font group, select Arial, click inside the font size box, and type in 120, and then press Enter on your keyboard.

Arial font PowerPoint

8. Position your cursor inside the text box and type in Q & A.

light bulb ideaTip: to centre the text box that contains the “Q & A” text, click on the border of the text box, and then reposition the text box using the right, left, and up, down arrows on your keyboard.

re-position using left right arrows

9. Save your work.

Adding a Running Footer to your Slide Show

No matter how skilled you are as a public speaker, or how interesting your content may be, everyone in your audience, without fail, will zone out during your presentation. How often they do this, and for how long, will depend on a number of factors. But it will happen! Some of the things that I have discussed in this tutorial will help you to limit this to a degree, but you can’t eliminate it completely.

Adding a running footer to your presentation will help your audience to re-orient themselves to your presentation after they return from whatever reverie they were lost in for the past however many minutes. Also, the running footer allows your audience to estimate how much time is left in your presentation.

To add a running footer to your presentation:

1. Open the first new section slide.

Note: there is no need to add a running footer to the “front matter” of your slide show (the title page, table of contents and objectives slide).

2. Click the Insert tab, and click the Text Box button.

insert tab Microsoft Office

text box button Microsoft Office

3. Near the bottom of the slide, draw a text box that is not quite the length of the slide.

4. Change the font type to Arial, and the size to 16.

5. Type the name of your first section title.

running footer PowerPoint 2007

Note: you can abbreviate the section names. The goal is to include all the section names with spaces in between.

6. Press the Tab button on your keyboard, and then type in the second section title.

7. Add all section titles in the text box.

running footer PowerPoint

Note: this could take some time to get all your section titles in the text box with relatively equal spacing between them. If the Tab key does not allow you to accomplish this, you can use the space bar on your keyboard as well.

8. Save your work

To format the running footer:

1. Bold all section titles in the text box.

2. Highlight the text of your first section title in the text box.

3. In the pop-up formatting tool bar that appears, click on the Font color button, and select light turquoise.

select turquoise PowerPoint 2007

4. Highlight the text of the other section titles in the text box, click on the Font color button and select grey.

select grey text PowerPoint 2007

You can now see the result: the text box highlights the current section while other sections are greyed out.

To add the text box to other slides:

1. Click inside the text box so that the borders are highlighted with the dashed line.

2. Hover your cursor on the border of the text box so that the cursor turns into a cross hair with points.

text box border PowerPoint 2007

3. Click.

Result: the dashed line turns into a solid line, indicating that the entire text box has been selected.

4. Press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, and then press the letter C key on your keyboard.

5. Navigate to the next slide in the section and press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, and then press the letter V key.

Result: the text box will appear on the new slide in the same location as it did on the slide from which you copied it.

6. Copy the text box into all the remaining slides in the same section.

7. Copy the text box into the first slide of the next section.

8. Change the color scheme of the section titles in the text box so that the current section title is highlighted in turquoise and the other section titles are greyed out.

warning signWarning: a potential down-side to using this type of running footer is that it is not fixed. In other words, if you test your slide show (press F5) and the footer looks fine in all slides, you could still encounter problems if you open the slide show on another computer with a different resolution and/or monitor size. To avoid this problem, simply ensure that the footer is not too wide and make sure to test the slide show on the computer you will be using when standing in front of your audience. If you are using your laptop and connecting it to an overhead projector, then checking the slide show on your laptop will tell you all is OK.

I also call this footer the “zone-out bar” because of the fact that audience member who zone out will be able to re-orient themselves to the slide show when they snap out of their day dream.

A Few Words about Adding Images

Images can make your slide show much more appealing. However, there is a fine line between including images and making your slide show too busy. A simple rule to use is: only include an image if it is relevant to the information on a specific slide. An image for its own sake doesn’t really add much to the experience for your audience.

Editing your Slide Show

Just as any piece of writing will benefit from a self-edit, so a PowerPoint presentation is no exception.

Many people forget to do a spell-check on their slide show before making their presentation. It is very easy to catch embarrassing mistakes this way.

To do a spell check:

1. Click the Review tab.

review tab

2. Click the ABC Spelling button.

spelling button PowerPoint 2007

After you have done that, go back and check that all the topic sections in your table of contents match the topic sections of the first slide of each new section.

Then, go over the slide show to ensure that the running footer you added has the correct section highlighted in turquoise for each slide.

Next, go through the slide show again and check for any orphans (widows), and then eliminate them by pushing some text onto the next line.

To eliminate orphans:

1. Click in front of the words you want to push onto the next line.

orphan in slide show

2. Press and hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and then press Enter on your keyboard.

Eliminate orphans from slide PowerPoint 2007

Finally, if you are not too worried about wasting paper, print off your slide show and do a hard copy edit. Mistakes that you might have missed during the spell-check and while scanning in PowerPoint may jump out at you when in hard copy.

I hope that this tutorial has helped you to create an effective slide show!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TEFL Reading Activities: Writing on the Wall

TEFL graffiti From my experience, and from talking with other EFL teachers, reading classes have always presented a certain challenge. In an ideal world, you would assign students to read an article for homework and then you could engage them in a lively discussion in the subsequent class. You could also focus on vocabulary and discuss various language patterns that appeared in the article.

However, counting on all students to read a number of pages for homework is usually not realistic. This often results in a teacher asking students to “read this article“ during the class. The class goes silent, starts reading, and a good chunk of the time for that period is gone.

The challenge is always to find other methods to make the reading of the article more interesting and fun for the students.

ESL Graffitti is a great way to break up the monotony of the usual “read this article” approach. I found this activity a number of years ago. It is such a great idea that I am surprised I have never found variations of it elsewhere. Good TELF games and activities are normally replicated on numerous websites and are passed along by teachers who are constantly looking for interesting activities.

So, I will simply direct you to the website that contains this great idea. However, I will also summarize the activity and add some more information that could make it even more successful for you.

Summary of ESL Graffitti Reading Activity

I have found that this activity works best with a relatively long reading passage of a few pages or more. Photocopy the article and then cut the photocopied pages up into sections. Depending on the size of the article, the size of your classroom, and the amount of open wall space in the classroom that is at eye level, you may want to cut up the article into about 7 to 10 equal sized chunks. Make sure that each cut out section is a continuous part of the article. In other words, each cut-out section should be able to somewhat stand alone and make sense when read on its own.

Next, paste each cut-out section onto a blank piece of 8.5 X 11 paper (or larger if you wish). Now, tape those pages at equal intervals at eye level on the walls of your classroom. You could tape up the articles in sequence so that the order of the article is maintained. Or, you could simply tape the pages up in no order whatsoever. If you choose this option, place a number or letter on each page. You can then introduce a second element into the activity that follows (more on this second element later in this post).

When your class files in, they may see you finishing up the preparation for this activity. This will generate some buzz and excitement. Even if you are finished the preparation, most students will notice that something is different. Creating a bit of excitement by doing something out of the ordinary is one of the benefits of keeping your teaching methods varied and interesting.


Ask your students if they know what graffiti is. Ask them if they have ever seen writing on the bathroom walls or on the sides of buildings. A discussion like this could take all sorts of interesting turns. After you have talked about graffiti and perhaps introduced some relevant vocabulary, tell your students that they are going to now have the chance to write some graffiti of their own (this, of course, being the only time when it is acceptable).

Point out the pages that you have taped to the walls and tell them that you want them to walk around the class and read every section of the article. They are then to write whatever comments they want on the corresponding piece of paper to which each section is pasted.

Encourage them not to worry about being grammatically correct or writing in full sentences. The goal is to get the ideas flowing. For example, if they don’t understand a word, they could write, “I don’t understand __________.” Or they could even comment on another student’s comment.

If you wish to add a second aspect to the activity, tape the pages to the walls out of sequence. Also, you should write a number or letter on each page. Let the students know that the numbers do not reflect the real order of the pages. Instead, the students should decide in which order the pages taped to the wall should go.

Post-Activity Discussion

Once all students have had a chance to write their graffiti on each of the pages, you can then engage in a class discussion about the article and try to elicit some ideas regarding main idea. You will still likely want to then move on to some more traditional activities such as answering the questions that go along with the article in whichever textbook you are using.

And, later when you are back at your desk in the teacher’s room, you will probably get a kick out of some of the comments that students have written on the pages!

I have found this to be a really effective activity with good results. Don’t overuse it though. More than once per class per semester would probably be too much.

Monday, December 20, 2010

TEFL Games and Activities: Likes and Dislikes

TEFL activity This is a simple game that you can use to practice yes/no questions and answers in the third person singular for the language function “talking about likes and dislikes.” Of course, you can easily modify the game to suit other grammar points and language functions.

Like all successful game that I have used when teaching ESL, this one adheres to three simple principles: 1. The rules of the game are simple and easy to explain to students ( I have seen many a game or activity die a quick death because it was too complicated and the language necessary to explain the rules were beyond the language skills of the students.), 2. It results in students practicing the grammar point and language function in question, and 3. It's fun.


All you need for this game are some sheets of paper, a white board, and a white board marker.


Before playing this game, you should have taught your students the vocabulary and grammar necessary for talking about likes and dislikes. You will have explained to your students the difference between things (“Do you like books?), and activities (“Do you like reading?”).

You now want them to practice asking about other people’s likes and dislikes. You should introduce and drill the following question and answer forms:

Does Pook like playing football?

Yes, she does.

No, she doesn’t.

Yes, she loves it.

No, she hates it.

Playing the Game

This game works best with 12 to 20 students. Separate the class into two teams. On the white board, write down approximately 15 different activities. Example: play football, study English, cycle, etc. Write down a good mixture of activities that reflect ones that not all people would definitely like or dislike. Write verbs in the present simple form so that the students must conjugate them for the game.

Tell students to write all the activities on a sheet of paper, and next to each activity to write “Yes” or “No”: an indication of whether or not they like the activity. Tell the students to write their names on their pieces of paper.

Collect the sheets of paper from the students. Make sure that you keep the papers in separate piles to reflect the teams.

On the white board, write the team names with space underneath for marking points. Also, you should keep all the activities on the board that you wrote down earlier.

Rules of the Game

One student from the first team must ask another student from the same team about a student on the other team.


Student A on team 1: Does Bink [Bink is on team 2] like playing tennis?

Student B on team 1: (ponders for a moment, looks at Bink, and probably giggles) No, she doesn’t.

You check the paper on which Bink wrote her answers earlier and tell the class the verdict. If team A was correct, they get one point. If they were wrong, they get an X (or no points, or the other team gets a point; whichever you prefer).

Alternate between teams with each student having a chance to ask and answer the questions.

Simple game but you will have the students laughing within minutes and they will be unselfconsciously speaking English and hopefully retaining some of the question and answer forms and related vocabulary. This is an original game. However, it is so basic that I have no doubt that others have created very similar versions.

Friday, November 26, 2010

EFL Teaching Advice: Emotions are Contagious

emotions are contagious

Emotions are contagious. Anyone who has worked as a teacher knows this. Stand in front of a class and present in a disinterested and lifeless manner and the same blasé mood will infect the entire class. Walk into the class with a spring in your step and smile on your face and your students will probably come to life and take notice of what you have to say.

Now, if what you have to say is not presented in a structured and engaging way, then this lack of preparation will probably counteract your attempts to improve the atmosphere in the classroom. But positive emotions can be the difference between a dull, uninteresting class and one that your students will remember.

Assuming that what you present to your class is worthy of their attention, how can you improve your emotional state of mind so that your class picks up on this and becomes more interested in what you are saying?

Faking It Can Work

You can’t fake it, can you? Well, yes, in fact, you can. Just as feigning interest in something can lead to real interest, and outward demonstrations of love can increase your feelings for someone, so too acting enthusiastic and eager can eventually become a genuine habit. Add some modulation and emotion to your voice, engage in some slightly over-the-top body language on occasion, use some humour in the classroom, and even smile once in a while and your students will respond favourably. The positive feedback that you receive will only encourage you to continue in this manner until hopefully it is no longer only a schtick.

At the same time, being able to filter out and deflect certain emotions can be a valuable skill as well. Any kind of presenter or teacher with an acute sense of self-awareness can wither in front of their audience after a particularly cringe-worthy misstep. Subsequently, the sense of embarrassment that an audience has for the person standing in front of them can make for a very unpleasant situation.
When you visibly react to your own mistakes, and worse, let those mistakes then affect your performance for the remainder of the class, your students sense this. Too many situations like that and a certain reputation starts to take hold.

Observing Teachers in the Classroom

During the years that I worked as an English teacher I had the opportunity to observe some teachers in action. Some were very skilled at reading and influencing the emotions of their students. The best teacher I ever witnessed recognized the body language of his students and was able to change the direction of a pre-planned lesson when necessary to account for a collective lackluster response.

Of course, to be able to do this you have to know the material cold and have numerous approaches for teaching the same topic. When one approach doesn’t work in a certain situation, or, for whatever reason, with a particular group of students, you have to be willing to try another. His eclectic teaching methods also helped to keep the emotions of his students riding relatively high. Above all that though, he simply exuded constant confidence and energy. If you watched his students as he was teaching, they were always interested in what he had to say.

On the other hand, I also witnessed some abysmal displays. Actually, it is quite amazing that some of those individuals agreed to let me observe them while they were teaching. Surely they knew that they didn’t quite have what it takes to be good teachers. Or, they had stopped caring to such a degree that the result was the same: uninspired and boring classes that quickly caused students to lose interest.

In the worst case I remember, I knew that the teacher was going through some difficult times outside the classroom. It was like watching someone come unraveled. He would be standing in front of the classroom, and then he would zone out. He would start mumbling and it was almost as if he were no longer there. At the close of the semester, he received some of the worst student evaluations (this was in a university setting) ever, and was not offered another contract.

The underlying requirement for displaying the kind of positive emotions in the classroom that will contribute to a good experience for your students, is interest. Yes, plain old interest in what you are doing. I am amazed at the number of English language instructors who show no interest in what they are doing. It was either never there to begin with, or it wilted away over the years.

So, if this is the case with you, start faking interest in whichever subject you are teaching, and the real thing may just show up in time.